Ridgewood’s 104th Precinct held a back-to-school party on Tuesday in front of their stationhouse to help local students get through their end-of-summer blues.
The block party featured a rockwall, the NYPD Mounted Unit, a live DJ, barbecue and a backpack giveaway.
While Captain Victoria Perry, the precinct’s commander, got mixed answers when she asked a group of several hundred children and parents whether they were ready to go back to school, the kids showed unmitigated excitement about getting a new backpack, provided in part by the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council.
A line of children, including dozens of campers from the YMCA summer camp, wrapped around the block to get their hands on new backpacks, which the officers filled with school supplies.
The event also featured a booth from ModernMD, an urgent care clinic, with a branch on Knickerbocker Avenue. Claribel Gonzalez, one of the clinic’s community relations managers, came to educate residents about the benefits of going to an urgent care clinic rather as opposed to the emergency room.
“Even if you’re uninsured, you can go see a doctor for around $100. The ER’s are overburdened and under-resourced,” Gonzalez said.
The event flexed the 104th Precinct’s standing as a hub of community outreach in the greater Ridgewood area.
The mounted units were a perfect example of this tendency. Largely, the unit represents the public-facing part within the NYPD branch.
As a group of children petted the snouts of the horses, one resident asked the mounted policeman what their purpose was on the force.
“It gives us a high vantage point. Like I can see all the way down the street from here. And it makes it easier for the public to approach us. People are much more likely to want to talk to an officer on a horse,” said Officer Youssef.